Part of being a Natural Born Rebel is having hard conversations. Hard conversations about hot topics with people who don’t agree with you. Talk about a trifecta of disaster. We watch this go down in the halls of Twitter all the time — screaming, yelling, trolling, and throwing around memes as though we were dueling with swords. It all ends the same. People become more rooted in their cause, not listening to anything the opposition has to say, because clearly they are unhinged
Everything is an everyday experience. Movements simply have the momentum of the masses behind a unified experience. Take M.A.D.D. (Mothers Against Drunk Driving) for example — founded on September 5, 1980 by Candace Lightner after her 13-year-old daughter, Cari, was killed by a drunk driver. One person, one experience, now a nationwide movement with partners such as the AMA, NFL, and Google. Candace, along with other mothers, were tired of seeing their children die at the han
Social justice and political action feel like really, really big things. Like so big, I am forced to eat a pint of ice cream and binge watch Downton Abbey, again. Write about it. Write a note to a friend, write on some paper, post about what makes you feel overwhelmed on Facebook (how brave), write a text to your lover. Get present. If you breathe into the feeling of overwhelm it loses its power. If you take a moment to stop trying to run away from it, feel your feet planted
I have a craving…a deep desire…a carnal need… Brené Brown once said, “There is no innovation and creativity without failure. Period.” Nowhere is this a more critical concept than in the field of social justice work. Every single day we wake up with the opportunity to elevate the experiences of our communities.
Like one of my favorite people, Marli Williams says, “If you desire something, it’s not an accident.”
I desire radical social justice change!
Several years ago I wo
About a month ago I was in Washington DC at the American Women’s Party Conference. When I was there I got to connect with some of the greatest minds in activism. I learned a lot, they learned from me. I thought we would all move on with our business cards in hand and just chalk it up to another glorious networking event. But something happened at that meeting I never expected. Literally days later I needed the connections I made because my own family was being impacted by eve
It is Friday, I just did my FB live. It was awesome. I said some stuff. Threw out a few big things. Finished it up and was like wow…you sorta lost it there towards the end. WAIT WHAT? Bird Girl…STOP. You say what you are gonna say…sometimes you flow and it isn’t perfect. You are THE imperfect activist. You are living proof of your truth. Here is my truth: I love love love talking to people. I especially love inspiring people. I am a human having opinions about politics and po
It is a compulsion.
The need to change the world for the better.
The impulse to improve the community for everyone. It thrums through the blood in my veins.
It resonates down deep into the tenor of my soul.
I have never not heard the siren song of the call for justice. And yet… I can advocate for others but advocating for myself is an entirely different story, especially in my capacity as a parent. I have been raising three children since Sean was 18
This morning a friend of mine posted this poem on Instagram: This poem resonated with me so deeply for a number of reasons. One is that I am seeing a whole lotta policing of peoples actions in activism and that makes me worried for the future of all sorts of movements. We are human beings engaging in the risk to take action in 2018.
We aren’t going to get it right all of the time.
For many throughout the country this is the first time they have spoken out. There is a great
I grew up Mormonish (LDS lite) in Utah. My relationship with God and Christianity was complicated to say the least. As a bisexual (sometimes lesbian, always queer) woman I hated religion and what religion stood for. To me it was hateful and biased. To me it held no space for growth and love. And so I mostly avoided houses of worship. To be clear I believe in God. I also believe in the divine Goddess, the Universe, and a higher presence much, much bigger than myself. I also be
Yesterday we talked about the social construction of HIV in my social justice class. I showed my class videos about gay cancer, Ryan White, and the AIDS Quilt. Only a few of my students knew anything about the devastating history of HIV. None of them realized it took a straight, white, Christian boy from middle America to spur a nation into action to stop the carnage wrought by AIDS. As with most things in this nation, his story was more palatable than the deaths of thousands
I am deeply committed to working for justice in an authentic and charitable way. This means I am going to fuck shit up a lot in the eyes of other people. If speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we have, why do I feel like lately my truth isn’t good enough? If it is important for women not to support each other and not play mean girls on the playground, why do I feel like I am taking the punches for saying how I feel in an authentic and intentional way? When I was get
12/12/17 was a historic day in Portland, Oregon. I got to meet one of my heroes Hillary Clinton…again. I met her 10 years ago during her first run for President and a few times since, but this time I got to talk to her and it was AWESOME! These are the top 10 things I learned from Hillary on Tuesday night: There is too much at stake for ANY of us to sit on the sidelines The only way we will get sexism out of politics is to get more women into politics You can’t win if you don
Last night I broke my cardinal rule. I picked a fight with a total stranger on Facebook. It made me cry all night and all morning. It took me all the way until this afternoon to gather my wits and apologize publicly, which I did. Yes, the impenetrable Dr. Bird has a heart and cries…a lot.
She also has the grace and wisdom to know when she is being combative. In order to process this I called all of my posse. I needed wisdom from my best girls. My conversation with my friend
I am grateful for activists. I receive lots of really incredible emails on a pretty regular basis. This week I received some remarkable messages that I think are pretty great. One was from a student of mine who read the chapter about “substance use” in our textbook and took exception with the language used. He emailed the authors of the textbook and got this response: “The textbook publisher emailed me a proof of the next edition’s chapter on addiction asking me to look it ov
Yesterday a student at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work filed suit against a former professor of mine because of the sexual harassment she endured as his student. The school imposed light sanctions against the professor and made him move offices. In light of recent news about the sexual harassment culture at USC (e.g., former Medical Dean Rohit Varma and fundraising executive David Carrera) and given widespread exposure of sexual harassment throughout the med
This week we had a mass shooting. Again. I thought to myself, “what can I say about this to my followers?” Then I thought, wait a minute, I wrote about this before on a blog I was doing with my conservative friend Lorie a few years back. Turns out the blog was written to the day (almost). How is that for irony? Here is the blog in its entirety, turns out my opinion hasn’t changed much because we keep having mass shootings and no one is doing anything about it.** Want to read
Today is the last class that I am teaching at the California State University, San Bernadino School of Social Work. I dedicate this blog to my 28 amazing students who have been personally and professionally affected by the outcome of the 2016 election. They are fierce and they are woke and they are engaging in activism like I have never seen in a group of social workers. This is what I have learned from the CSUSB MSW Class of 2018: I have learned that I don’t know everything
December 2, 2015 I am supposed to be coding my data for my qualifying exam right now but instead I am texting my husband to tell him about another mass shooting. Another shooting that the FBI refuses to call a terror attack. See, if it causes terror I am thinking it should be called a terror attack. I just read about the record number of guns sold on Black Friday. Shootings are routine in America. We just don’t like to talk about it. Since Sandy Hook, 10 states have passed 17
There is a fierceness to my brilliance, to my activism, to my action. There is a fierceness behind this need to drive change, to inspire people, to inform mass action. There is a fierceness in my fire, my sass, my sauce. I am the catalyst…
I am the change…
I am the brains…
I am the Phoenix…
I am a badass bombshell babe… 1/28/14 #badass #brilliance #activism #fierceness #inspiring #Phoenix #bombshell #action #brains
Yesterday the 44th President of the United States gave his inaugural speech while I was driving down I-5 with our 10 and 2 year old. At the sound of President Obama’s voice my 2 year old started clapping and said “Obama is my favorite guy” (for one second Batman took a step back) and my 10 year old took off her headphones and set down her Nook to listen to his words (a miracle). I got my tissue at the ready, just in case I broke into inspired hysterics while driving such pr